Featured Artist: Jared James Nichols
With his incendiary guitar playing and classic rock style vocals, Jared James Nichols has become the artist to watch out for. Hailing from Wisconsin, the hard rock/blues guitarist moved out west to Los Angeles to pursue his career in music with nothing but his guitar and the clothes on his back.
After winning several guitar competitions, Nichols moved on to record his first live EP Live at the Viper Room, a three song EP that showcases Nichols’ hard rock style and adrenaline fueled performances. Afterwards Nichols would open for acts such as Kid Rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and ZZ Top across North America. Nichols would go on to release his first full length album Old Glory and the Wild Revival to critical acclaim.
Since then Nichols has toured with other acts such as Blue Oyster Cult, Zakk Wylde, and is currently on tour with classic rock legends UFO and Saxon. Nichols’ second studio effort Black Magic is hitting shelves on Oct. 27th. I recently sat down with the guitar maestro to chat about his upcoming plans and more…
M365: So what do you have in store for 2017? What’s left of it…
Jared: Right now we’re on the road finishing a tour with some classic hard rock legends UFO and Saxon, we’ve been doing that for the past month and it’s been amazing. We’ve been touring so much for the past few years, more so in Europe than in the states and it’s just an adventure. Different cities, different venues, different crowds. We have a record coming out here in a few weeks called Black Magic and that’ll come out and then we’re getting ready to gear up for next year we’re going to be on the road pretty as much as possible. We start in February on the “Monsters of Rock” cruise and then we cruise into Europe for a headlining tour. I’m super excited for all that.
M365: Do you feel your fan base has grown here in the US over the years?
Jared: It’s funny I always equated to, in the States, either you’re huge or you’re not. In Europe, I found out the first gig we played there people are very into the artist, into the music, the really want to be a part of it. They’re waiting outside venues to meet you. In the States I don’t see that a lot here with big guys. You have to be massive here because I think that there’s so much to listen to. It’s a lot to handle as a listener and as someone trying to find new music. In Europe, I can see things starting to turn for us and I see growth potential and of course it’s radiating over here and it’s helped us get on some really cool tours here in the States. It’s like anything, you have to just be determined to crack the code. Everywhere, playing is different, the States and Europe are two different cookies. It’s fun though, we’re having a blast trying to break it over here. We’re seeing the reception every night after every show and people here in the States dig it and I couldn’t be happier.
M365: You go on tour with a lot classic, heavier bands. Is that something you wanted to do or is it something you fell into?
Jared: [Laughs] A little of both I think? It’s funny because I grew up playing blues and that’s what I wanted to do and when I started the trio, of course there was a younger, aggressive, raw sound. It’s cool because I feel like now with music people still categorize a lot, right? Like what genres you play. But if there’s a loud guitar and screaming vocals, it doesn’t matter if it’s hard rock or bluesy it all kind of blends together now. It’s awesome because last year when I got the call to tour with Zakk Wylde, he’s known as an epic, metal shredder, right? Those dates were unbelievable, the reception we got and the fan base that grew after that. And then here we are playing at metal fests in Czech Republic playing to hardcore metal fans and they’re all headbanging to some blues rock. So it’s really cool like that and the one thing is we’re not afraid to go any direction. Especially for me, as a guitar player, I’m as comfortable playing blues as I am hard rock stuff. It all comes from the same place, you know?
M365: What can fans expect the new album to sound like?
Jared: If anything on this record I tried to push my boundaries a little bit. With this one I was taking three years of touring and three years of experience and putting it on a record. So instead of just having one record in a studio we have cuts that are total southern rock, we have stuff that’s pure blues, we have heavier stuff that’s influenced by being on the road with Zakk Wylde, there’s so many different, kind of, I want to say, a lot more depth on this record. There’s a lot more me trying to express myself fully instead of, “Okay, here’s my next blues solo”. This was me looking the record in the eye and saying, “I want to give people the full feel”. I don’t want to make a record of just guitar solos and be done with it because that’s not the goal. The goal is to express myself fully to music.
M365: Being a blues trio, how did you guys try and avoid being like other blues trios?
Jared: We literally had to turn a blind eye to all of that. I think a lot of people just go “Oh that works” or “Oh that’s it, that’s enough”. I always looked back to the originals, to Cream, the Mountain, the Hendrix, what made them so explosive? It wasn’t a 12 bar blues or them trying to copy somebody else it was an original, kind of, inventive force, you know? When you put that record on you know you’re expecting something crazy. That’s more where I wanted to go and to avoid the stereotypes. I have the stereotypes, I got long hair right? People are like “Oh he’s just another long haired guitarist” but I try to go deeper, you know? That’s the only thing, I think now, musically, I want to do. I don’t want to get fast, I don’t care about that, I just want to get deeper to the music the point where it’s like, “I am the guitar and the guitar is me” you know what I mean?